Households that regularly use much more water than the average now pay extra for their water supply.

How the new rate works

The targeted rate applies to any single household with a water meter that uses, on average, more than 700 litres a day – roughly equivalent to 100 toilet flushes.

Property owners in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula pay a fixed rate of $1.35 for every 1000 litres they use over the average limit.

Most households are average water users and don’t use enough to receive an invoice.

We read your water meter and invoice you for any excess water use on a quarterly basis (roughly every 90 days). Meter reads cannot be requested.

Generally, the property owner, or the same person who receives the property's rates invoice, also receives the excess water supply invoice.

There won't be a reduction in rates for households that use less water than the excess limit, and no rebates or discounts will apply under any circumstances.


Pay your bill online(external link). There is no surcharge for online credit card payments. We accept Visa and Mastercard. Remember to put your water account number in the 'reference' field. Do not use your rates account number. 

Internet banking

Our account number is 02-0800-0044765-01.

On your bank's website, select 'one-off payments' and fill in the details. Remember to put your water account number in the 'reference' field. Do not use your rates account number. 


You can pay by eftpos, credit card or cash at any of our service centres

When will I receive a bill? 

Bills for excess water use started being sent in February 2023. These cover excess water use in the period between your first and second quarterly water meter readings after 1 October 2022, which is when excess charges came into effect.

Bills for excess water use will be sent out quarterly, and unlike rates, they won’t come at the same time each quarter. We’ll send you a bill after we’ve carried out your quarterly meter reading. 

Your household might only be a high user during warmer months as a result of outdoor water use - for example filling pools, gardening, and irrigation. If this is the case, you will only receive a bill for periods when your average use is more than 700 litres a day.

How long do I have to pay? 

You have approximately eight weeks from the invoice date. Payment is due on the Thursday of the eighth week following the issue date.

What if I can't pay my bill? 

If residents are unable to pay an invoice we encourage them to get in touch with us before the due date.

Are there penalties on late payments? 

If you're unable to pay your invoice please get in touch with us before the due date. A penalty of 7% will be applied to late payments, and further penalties of 7% on outstanding amounts from previous rating years will be charged on 1 October and 1 April each year. 


We know some households have higher water use.

If any of these circumstances apply, you might be eligible for a remission:

  • Unexpected high use due to a leak, upon proof the leak was repaired promptly.
  • Families with more than eight members who are using water responsibly. 
  • High use due to a personal medical condition.

Apply for a remission

Learn about remission criteria and put in an application. 

The main reason is to help reduce the extreme demand on our water supply network at certain times, particularly over summer.

If we can do this, it means we won't have to spend as much money upgrading and building new infrastructure to cope with the extreme demand. 

When other parts of the country have put in place similar charges they’ve seen a reduction in water use of 20 to 30 per cent.

The median annual water use for households in Christchurch is 480 litres per day.

That’s plenty of water for use inside the home, and responsible outdoor use, even for large households and families. If your family has nine people or more and is using water responsibly you may also be eligible for a remission.

On top of this, residents won’t be charged until their bill goes above $25. This effectively makes the allowance approximately 900 litres per day for a 90 day period - although if you exceed this you’ll be charged for all use above 700 litres. 


700 litres multiplied by the number of days since your last meter reading equals your excess water supply limit.

If your water use since your last meter reading is greater than your excess water supply limit, you may receive an invoice.


A property's water meter was last read 95 days ago.

Using the formula above, 700 litres multiplied by 95 gives us a limit of 66,500 litres for the period.

The property's latest meter reading shows it has used 100,000 litres in those 95 days.

100,000 litres is 33,500 litres more than the limit.

The rate is $1.35 for every 1000 litres used over the limit.

So 33,500 extra litres is equal to 33 multiplied by $1.35, a total charge of $44.55.

Check your latest recorded water use by using our Water Reporter(external link).

You can also email or call us on 03 941 8999 (0800 800 169) and we can confirm your water usage. 

Water meter accuracy

Water meters are built to remain accurate for many years, and the data we’ve collected from thousands of meters over the years supports this. As they age, they tend to slightly under-read, not over-read. This means that if you have an older water meter and you trigger the Excess Water Supply Targeted Rate, you’re likely paying for less water use rather than more. 

The Council isn’t required to regularly test or calibrate water meters, but you can request a calibration of your meter if you believe it isn’t accurate. If we test the meter but find it’s still accurate, then you must cover the cost of the calibration testing. If we test and find the meter is not accurate, then we will cover the costs of the testing and the repair or replacement of the meter.

Querying a meter reading

If you believe your latest quarterly meter reading is incorrect:

  • Take a photo of your water meter so that it clearly shows the serial number and current reading
  • Email the photo, along with your address, to
  • We'll get back to you within five working days.

Learn how to read your water meter and check for leaks(external link)

If a leak is discovered on your property, it’s up to you to get this fixed as soon as possible. We are only responsible for the pipes and fittings up to your property’s boundary.

Leak in the road?

Use our Snap Send Solve app(external link) to report it, or contact us(external link).

Who is responsible for paying excess water bills in tenanted properties? 

The property owner, or the person who receives the property’s rates bill, will also receive the excess water supply bill. The landlord must pay the bill and can then ask the tenant to reimburse them.

If high water use is due to a leak, it’s the owner’s responsibility to get it fixed and apply for remission.

Landlords should let their tenants know they have a responsibility to be good water users and will need to pay for excess water use.

Visit the Government's Tenancy Services website(external link) for information about tenants and their water use.

How do I manage excess water bills when tenants have changed in the middle of a billing period?

At the beginning and end of each tenancy, it is a good idea to agree with your tenant/landlord on how to do the first and final readings of the water meter.

This ensures each person pays only for the water they use. It is the landlord’s responsibility to manage this.

Shared meters are also read quarterly and where the water use is much higher than expected for the number of households, we will contact property owners to ask them to investigate and fix any leaks. Over time these shared meters will be replaced by individual meters with the priority being set by water use. 

For the first billing period (October 2022 to January 2023) there are only 194 properties with shared water meters out of the total of 22,781 that would be eligible to receive to an invoice for high water use. We are planning on contacting these properties to let them know water use is high, and that they may have a leak. We’ll continue monitoring water use at shared connections and will be able to see where there is high seasonal use.

In general, households sharing a water meter are low to average water users because the majority are smaller properties within multi-unit developments with very compact or shared gardens. 

For the 2022 calendar year, the median use for shared connections was 295 litres per household per day compared with 480 litres per household per day for single residential connections. 

Where there are more than three households on a single title these properties pay commercial rates for water – approximately 900 residential shared connections are charged for water in this manner. This has been the case for many years and is not part of the new excess water charge.

Similarly multi-unit developments with a single shared connection and a residential body corporate pay the excess use charges if they exceed the allowance – approximately 348 connections are charged in this manner and we expect this number to increase with the intensification of housing in the city.

Farm irrigators and water-bottling plants aren’t connected to the Council’s water supply network, they have their own water supplies, so they won’t be affected by the Excess Water Supply Targeted Rate.